When you get a hard task completed, how does it make you feel? It doesn’t have to be work-related. It could be a tough level of Candy Crush Saga that you’ve been stuck on for three weeks that you’ve finally been able to complete! For many people, the completion of a difficult task that seemed beyond their current capabilities is a motivation to continue on, to do more, or to be better than they believe they can be.
This type of motivation is called “effectance” motivation. The motivation isn’t internal or necessarily external, but is instead caused by the effect of a difficult job that is well done.
Do You Want Your Life To Have Meaning?
Most people want to be recognized for being effective in some way. The stay-at-home parent, for example, wants to be recognized for being an effective parent. A supervisor wants to be recognized as being an effective leader. Even the data entry specialist wants to be recognized as an effective typist! Everyone wants to be known for something and that’s what effectance motivational theory is built upon: the desire to not only be effective, but to take pleasure in the display of that effectiveness.
It’s all about finding the mastery of a specific skill or niche. When success occurs within the development of this skill, that person finds motivation to continue on because of the effects of that success. On the other hand, if failure is experienced instead, then there is less motivation to continue on. Why?
Because there is evidence of the lack of effectiveness.
Why Is Effectiveness So Motivational To So Many?
Effectance motivation boils down to one basic concept: competition. In order for someone to be recognized as the master of their specific skill, they must be able to outperform everyone else who is also trying to be as effective in that particular skill. This competition motivates people to do more, be more, and accomplish more! When that accomplishment finally happens, that’s when the effectance motivation kicks in and gives people that rush that is loved so much!
Just as this competition can be an effective motivator, it can also be an effective de-motivator. If someone else can prove that they are more effective than another in a particular skill-set on a consistent basis, then the person who is lower on the effectiveness scale will begin to experience de-motivation rather than motivation. This can cause people to give up, seek changes, or even just lock themselves up in a dark closet and hide for awhile!
Can Effectance Motivation Be Used On a Daily Basis?
That depends on your specific circumstances. Some effectance motivation takes time to develop. You won’t become a black belt karate expert after just one lesson, for example, or you won’t become a UFC champion after a week in the gym learning mixed martial arts. That doesn’t mean effectance motivation doesn’t exist when you complete a hard workout or earn your first belt in karate. What it means is that effectance motivation occurs in steps and the higher the step you attain, the more powerful the effectance motivation will be.